When most people think of exercise, they typically think of hitting the indoor gym. While that may seem like the only practical option during the cold, snowy winter months, or during the blistering heat of summer, there is overwhelming evidence that exercising outdoors, otherwise referred to as green exercise, is better for you – both physically and mentally.
This idea isn’t new, in fact, the healing power of nature stems from a Latin word which is one of the guiding principles of medicine and evolutionary biology and viewed as an essential factor in maintaining and restoring one’s health.
- : You’ll boost your immune system .Take the opportunity to go outside to train. Research shows that the percentage of green space in one’s environment has a positive association with health. Being in nature is a great way to give your immune system a boost. Your body behaves differently when you’re in nature, and acts as a natural stimulus for your body to protect itself from disease. Research tells us the impact that fresh air, grass, trees and the colours of the natural environment have on mental health and physical well-being.
Other research highlights that an average of 30 minutes spent in nature leads to increased physical activity and lower prevalence of high blood pressure and depression.
- : You’ll get a burst of Vitamin D. Yes, going for some exercise in the sun is an excellent way to get some Vitamin D.
It’s one reason why people who seem to spend so much time outdoors appear to be so healthy. Every time the sun is shining and hitting exposed skin on your body, it’s triggering your body to produce more Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly common, especially in young children, the elderly, and people who live in the northern hemisphere. Deficiency can lead to brittle bones, osteoporosis, and the bone disorder called rickets. Deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune diseases, increased cancer risk, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and depression.
- You’ll release more feel-good hormones. Want to get a big smile on your face? Get some exercise outdoors. There’s a scientific reason why people feel so energised and full of enthusiasm after exercising outdoors – your body is releasing feel-good hormones like dopamine. Research has found that those who exercised outdoors on a regular basis had higher levels of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, than those who workout mainly indoors.
- You’ll burn more calories. Performing the same exercise outdoors is better for you than doing the same activity indoors. How is that possible, until you consider that working out in a climate-controlled environment does not supply the same stress to your body as working out in an environment that has high (or cold) temperatures and changing terrain which affects gait.
- You’ll work out longer and harder. Working out indoors can lead to boredom and fatigue. Just think of running on a treadmill staring at the same point on the wall for miles at a time. By contrast, when you decide to exercise outdoors, you are seeing new people, new scenery and generally enjoying your time more. That means you are tend to work out longer as it distracts your mind. Try it out for yourself and go for on two walks – one indoor, one outdoors – and then compared the responses. You might be surprised in the difference!
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